3 Tools for Leading Consciously in Workplace Communication ~ Danna Lewis
Today’s workplace has physically transformed. Not only have we shifted from fewer brick and mortar offices to t 24/7 remote access; but the workforce itself has become incredibly diverse. Conscious communication plays a vital part of a company’s cultural and economic success.
My first job (in the early ‘90s) was working as foreign exchange assistant for a Wall Street firm. The squawk box sat in the midst of my team’s workspace. The foreign exchange traders would bark out orders, instructions and, often, profanities and cutting remarks. A few of the women on my team would cry about the intensity and crassness of the outbursts. My point of view at the time was taken from the movie A League of Their Own: “There’s no crying in baseball,” and for me, this meant no crying at work. I sucked it up. (Quite honestly, the yelling and profanities reminded me of my father, but that’s a different story for another time).
My second job was as a treasury analyst. It was my job to interact daily with every department to gather and analyze the inflows and outflows of money so that the treasury leadership team could fund the company’s daily cash position. This was in the mid ’90s, without instant messaging and shareable docs, so I would bring printed spreadsheets into my boss’ office every afternoon to share my analysis. Usually, I would walk into a scene of my boss and his contemporaries smoking cigarettes and cigars and sometimes having a drink, always talking brashly about work and extracurricular activities. While there was some taming of language in my presence, it was still a bit awkward for me to interact with them in this scenario. And, at the same time, I didn’t want it to keep me from engaging with my boss and his colleagues. I melded with the flow as much as I could.
A few years later, I managed a team that handled critical payment issues for the senior executives of a Fortune 50 company, also another Wall Street firm. And, like the first two scenarios, there was often yelling, heated words and profanity stemming from intense stress as the success or failure of these payments created reputational and financial risk for the company. But the difference in this scenario was that my team was on the front lines of interaction and I was adamant about them being treated with respect and courtesy. Concurrently, I would speak to them about expecting and demanding that courtesy and, when necessary, I was willing to intervene to ensure it.
Fast forward to more than 25 years and the workplace now has multiple generations, races, ethnicities, spiritual preferences and genders, creating a diversity that has never existed before. In today’s transformational times, there is a daily confluence of communication obstacles. From minor misinterpretations to outright malicious comments, workplace conversations can be a minefield of missteps.
Without dismissing the offenses or diminishing the personal affronts that have occurred, what else could be possible if a broader scope of consciousness and energetic intelligence is applied? With the lens and tools of conscious leadership, there is a possibility to create a kind and inclusive culture, leading to improved communion, collaboration and productivity for individuals and companies.
Her radio show, Luscious Leadership on Inspired Choices Radio Network https://www.inspiredchoicesnetwork.com/podcast/luscious-leadership-with-danna-lewis/